It can be very comforting to think about an afterlife, a place where the people we have loved go when their life on this earth is over. A place where we will go when we die, and where we will meet all those we have loved. As a way of dealing with the terrible loss we all feel when those we care most deeply for are no longer with us, the idea of an afterlife can be very helpful.
And as a way of helping those in the despair of grief, this concept can be been seen to be helpful. And those who postulate these ideas do perform a very helpful function for most people at those times of sorrow.
And it can be very helpful to surround those moments with rituals, that can be focused on as a way of creating a shared meditation. We are social creatures and having others sharing in a complex and beautiful ritual alongside us does have a comforting effect.
But we have absolutely no evidence of an afterlife. And without evidence I cannot honestly use this idea, as it gives me no comfort. That is not to say I don’t want there to be an afterlife, I just see it as very unlikely, and so I need a different philosophy to bring me comfort.
The more I learn about the physics of the universe which we are all part of, the more I come to understand the strange nature of time. Time seems to be a dimension that may not truly exist, but is instead a mind-made concept. All of our understanding of the universe is grounded by a reference to time. The speed of light, movement of planets, acceleration, chemical reactions, quantum physics, electricity, the cycle of life all require observations to happen at different points.
Everything we do can be tracked chronologically. But as a dimension it is lacking in its ability to be bidirectional. Every now and again mathematically smart people work out a model that shows how (at miniscule levels) actions in the future can impact actions now or in the past. And the weirdness of the universe is exposed ever so slightly more.
Experimentally sub atomic properties (the spin of paired subatomic particles), have been shown to be linked in ways that defy the speed of light and therefore time.
These little teasers show the edge of a shadow that may one day expose a new way of thinking about everything.
And maybe these ideas will show us another level of the beauty of everything.
These ideas bring me immense comfort, and allow be to think fondly about the amazing nature of life, the universe and everything.
I don’t preclude the idea of an afterlife; I just see it as highly improbable, and not worth wasting my time alive worrying about.